author – activist – faculty – mom
in June 2019, SIDE CHICK NATION was the first novel published about Hurricane Maria.
Aya’s fourth “Justice Hustlers” feminist heist novel, which follows UPTOWN THIEF, THE BOSS, and THE ACCIDENTAL MISTRESS also features voices not often represented in mainstream fiction: SIDE CHICK NATION’s protagonist, Dulce García, was a teen sexually exploited by a violent New York pimp until Marisol Rivera rescued her. But Dulce didn’t stay rescued for long. In SIDE CHICK NATION, Dulce’s unhealed trauma and appetite for thrills lead her into an endless party of sugar daddies in the Caribbean. Until she gets caught in Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico—and witnesses both the heartbreaking disaster of climate change, and the international vultures who plunder the tragedy for a financial killing, making shady use of relief funds to devastate the island even more . . .
Meanwhile, New York-based mastermind thief Marisol already has her hands full fleecing a ruthless CEO who’s stealing her family’s land in Puerto Rico and getting her relatives out alive. An additional crew member could be game-changing, but she’s wary of Dulce’s unpredictability and history of indiscretion. Still, Dulce’s growing determination to get justice draws Marisol in, along with her formidable Lower East Side Women’s Health Clinic’s heist squad. But their race-against-the-clock plan is soon complicated by a sexy crusading journalist—not to mention powerful men who turn deadly when ex-side chicks step out of the shadows and demand to call the shots…
On the surface, this is a series of sexy beach reads. But the content focuses on radical wealth redistribution, and sexual politics. Even more broadly, this fourth book features a young woman of color moving into awareness and then activism about colonization and climate change.
This series is an intentional strategy to distribute social justice organizing messages to the masses. In particular, Kensington’s Dafina imprint targets young African American and Latina women, but the book is designed to appeal to female readers across a spectrum of race, class, gender identity, and sexual orientation.
The following are a few review quotes:
About SIDE CHICK NATION:
“The fourth title in de León’s genre-bending Justice Hustlers series is a multifaceted tale. On one level, it’s an entertaining feminist heist tale with a satisfying Robin Hood–style caper or two, but where the book truly shines is in spotlighting the challenges facing former sex workers and in angling an unflinching lens on the plight of Puerto Rico, both before and after the Maria disaster….An absorbing, enlightening book that exemplifies the power of good storytelling.”
De León’s…layered tale weaves heist capers, romantic suspense, and unforgettable realism in a look at Puerto Rico after it was devastated by Hurricane Maria…De León brings feminism, racial equality, and page-turning entertainment to the best book yet in her uniquely powerful Justice Hustlers series.
“This book is powerful and piercing, brilliantly illuminating the plight of the islands in accessible ways, but it’s also immensely entertaining and gratifying….A powerful, empowering triumph.”
“Gripping feminist heist fiction about turning the tables on the disaster capitalists in the jaws of climate apocalypse? Improbably and thrillingly, Aya de Leon has pulled off exactly that with SIDE CHICK NATION. I couldn’t put it down.”
—Naomi Klein author of The Shock Doctrine